Know What Pageant Gown Styles, Fabrics and Colors are Most Flattering to your Figure Shape, Height, Hair Color and Skin Tones…Especially Under Harsh Stage Lights
In addition to considering what type of gown best reflects her personality and creates a winning image, a pageant contestant must also evaluate what evening gown styles, fabrics, and colors are most flattering to her figure shape, height, hair color and style, and skin tones under stark stage lights.
A pageant contestant must also evaluate what evening gown styles, fabrics, and colors are most flattering to her figure shape, height, hair color and style, and skin tones under stark stage lights.
The objective isn’t to find the most eye-catching gown but the gown that makes the young woman look her most beautiful. Olivia Jordan Miss USA 2015 competed in a pageant gown that serves as a flawless example of colors chosen to flatter under stage lights.
In an era when the typical student spends most of her young lifetime in jeans and T-shirts or work-out clothes, a contestant may have no idea what gown styles look good on her.
“A lot of times when they come in they have never been in a pageant and they’ve never even worn a gown, so we try on,” says Zola Keller, who has outfitted numerous state and national winners, including Leanza Cornett, Miss America 1993. “She needs to see, ‘Okay, this bottom looks good on me, but this top doesn’t.’ If it’s the first time she’s ever put on a gown, she won’t have any idea what she is supposed to look like.”
Experienced pageant contestants know the importance of trying on gowns under actual stage lighting to determine if a particular shade changes the appearance of their hair color or skin tone on-stage. After all, your important competition is not the place to discover that the gown you fell in love with makes your skin look green under stage lights.
Pageant Gown Colors Under Stage Lighting
Stage Lighting Can Dramatically Change How a Gown Looks on You Onstage
Avoid the shock of discovering that your beautiful pageant gown looks awful on you on the pageant stage! In addition to considering what type of gown best reflects her personality and creates a winning image, a pageant contestant must also evaluate what evening gown styles, fabrics, and colors are most flattering to her figure shape, height, hair color and style, and skin tones under stark stage lights.
Unfortunately, even without the complications of stage lighting, colors can be unpredictable, affecting complexions and hair colors in surprising ways. “Colors either cast a yellow shade or a pink shade onto the face,” explains pageant clothing designer Beverly McGinn. “If you’ve got a yellow-based shade, it’s going to yellow your makeup instead of keeping you nice and bright. Some colors can make contestants look very sallow. Other colors will cast a green shade onto their face. The color goes right back onto the face. So we color-code.”
One of the factors a contestant should keep in mind is how her gown color will look under stage lights. “It’s amazing the difference stage lighting makes on a gown,” says Kati Fish. “Because of the fabrics gowns are made from today, rich crepe silks and chiffons, the difference between regular lighting and stage flood lighting is like night and day. It can almost make them look like two different gowns.”
Intense stage lighting can not only alter how gown colors look onstage, it can change how those colors affect a contestant’s skin tones and hair color. “Stage lighting can actually change the way a color looks on your skin,” Kati explains. Under stage lights the wrong colors can be unflattering: turning dyed-blond hair brassy, casting yellow, green, or grayish tints onto the face, or draining color from a fair complexion.
“Your lighting and choice of color are important,” says pageant consultant Kathleen Munson. “They can kill as well as enhance. On warm-toned skin, pinks can be really bad. If you’ve got very cool tones, peaches can look bad. Anything with a bit of green or yellow will take on that quality onstage, which very few skin tones can survive.” Clearly, the appearance of a fabric color under stage lights can greatly affect how a young woman looks-and scores-in the evening gown competition.
Test Possible Gown Choices Under Stage Lighting
To help contestants evaluate possible gown colors, experts recommend testing gowns under mock stage lights to see how each color will appear onstage. Many pageant shops offer state-of-the-art “lighting rooms” equipped with lighting systems to test wardrobing. “It’s really important that you know what that color is going to look like when you get onstage,” says Fish. “You want to know exactly how you are going to be perceived by the judges.”
Even film stars go to great lengths to ensure that their formalwear is flattering onstage. According to Parade magazine, for her appearance at an Academy awards ceremony, Barbra Streisand tested the same gown in different colors on-camera before deciding on her attire. (After testing black, white, and
dusty rose, she opted for the rose.) As Streisand’s painstaking efforts demonstrate, image-conscious women find their most flattering colors before they step onstage in front of millions of armchair critics.
To look your very best in competition, pretest your gown’s fabric color under stage lighting. The perfect pageant gown will combine the best color and style for the contestant’s hair color, skin tones, and complexion, make her look her prettiest under harsh stage lights, fit flawlessly, and convey the image of a winner to judges.
The right gown can make the difference between winning and losing, so don’t settle for just a pretty gown. Aim for perfection.